Tag Archives: George Clooney

SUBURBICON

“Suburbicon is a rather disjointed hotchpotch of ideas and concepts, like a mis-matched outfit thrown together by an owner racked by indecision whilst going through something of an identity crisis.”

Wayward Wolf.

I’d love to wax lyrical about the merits of a George Clooney-directed film based upon an original Coen Brothers script with all of the sort of gushing praise that those particular ingredients should probably warrant.

But I can’t. It’s just not possible. And considering that I was entirely convinced by the film’s superbly enticing trailer, this therefore represents something of a significant disappointment.

Suburbicon is a tale of dark deeds and whole-scale unrest that occurs on an idyllic housing development in 1960’s America. It follows the exploits of up-standing pillar of society and middle-class family man, Gardner Lodge (a fine performance from Matt Damon it should be said), whose life is suddenly rocked by the death of his disabled wife; an event instigated by a couple of ne’er-do-well hoodlums whilst carrying out a bungled burglary / hostage scenario at Gardner’s family home.

Friends and relatives understandably all rally around during such troubled times, and Gardner decides that in the interest of maintaining some sort of home-life stability, his wife’s identical twin sister, Margaret, should move into the family home for a while.

But things are not quite what they seem in this land of neatly-kempt lawns, white picket fences and twitching curtains, and with the cat threatening to bolt clean out of the bag, Gardner’s life begins to unravel, descending ultimately into outright chaos.

The basic premise of Clooney’s film is a fairly simple one – a tale of dodgy insurance claims and bungling mafiosi, and whilst it’s perhaps not a tale representing any great sense of originality, it certainly contains sufficient substance and intrigue from which to fashion something perfectly watchable.

Certainly Suburbicon‘s cast all put in dependably solid performances. Damon, as mentioned already, is excellent and is ably supported by Julianne Moore in her twin roles as both Gardner’s wife (Rose), and her twin sister (Margaret). Credit too to Oscar Isaac and his portrayal of wily insurance claim investigator, Bud Cooper, which is something of a highlight.

Yet, in spite of such a stellar cast, mysteriously, Clooney’s Suburbicon succeeds only in underwhelming, bringing to mind Ridley Scott’s 2013 hugely disappointing, The Counsellor. It too was a film boasting an impressive who’s-who of top acting talent with a big name director on board, yet ultimately absolutely stank the gaff out.

Suburbicon is a rather disjointed hotchpotch of ideas and concepts, like a mis-matched outfit thrown together by an owner that’s racked by indecision whilst simultaneously experiencing something of an identity crisis. And I’m still trying to work out the true relevance of the the story’s race-related sub-plot which felt both peripheral and largely irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

Add in the usually reliable Alexandre Desplat’s dreary omnipresent score splashed lavishly and unnecessarily all over the place, and Clooney’s film – one which threatened to be something of a devilishly dark comic romp, on paper – is one that’s probably worth giving something of a wide berth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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FILM REVIEW: Money Monster

The despicable practices and repercussions of the global banking system’s actions have been well documented in recent times, be that through documentary efforts from the likes of Russell Brand and Michael Moore, or through clever feature films such as this year’s superb, The Big Short, and 2015’s wonderful, yet under-rated, 99 Homes.

So to 2016, and director Jodie Foster’s own take on things, marrying banking malpractice with more general social commentary, in Money Monster.

George Clooney plays larger-than-life personality, Lee Gates, the presenter-come Game Show host of ‘Money Monster,’ a TV programme that whips its viewers into a financial frenzy by analysing the market and encouraging them to make ‘sure thing’ investments.

One such ‘sure thing’ however backfires spectacularly thanks to what is explained away by the financial institution involved as a computer glitch; costing a large number of small time investors an awful lot of money that they can ill afford to be without.

One such prospector, blue-collar worker Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell), has lost a small fortune having taken Lee Gates’s advice on this particular ‘certainty’ and has been left with nothing. Understandably, in full knee-jerk mode, Kyle wants someone to be held accountable.

Somehow managing to evade security, heslips into the TV studios and manages to sabotage the filming of the latest edition of the show, holding Gates at gunpoint, and forcing him to wear a vest jam-packed with explosives.

Finger poised upon the detonation button, Kyle Budwell is determined to have his demands met.

Money Monster is very much a film of the times. With more and more of the general public increasingly determined that the money men should be held accountable for their misdemeanours and acts of greed, it’s a film that should resonate with plenty, particularly considering its heavy release promotion and a heavyweight cast and directorial team.

Director Jodie Foster has cast well.  Clooney adds the necessary blend of charm and sleaze, whilst Julia Roberts is his long-suffering producer, Patty Fenn, and it’s a good thing too as Money Monster, relevant and tense in places though it may well be, would be in serious danger of slipping into TV movie or U.S TV drama territory without their collective, assured presence.

Jack O’Connell makes a good fist of what is essentially a pretty limited part and a special mention for his girlfriend Molly (Emily Meade) and her hilariously unsupportive, foul-mouthed rant at her boyfriend who she has clearly ‘had it’ with – just to pile on the misery for the poor fella.

As well put together and as perfectly watchable as Money Monster is, it lacks originality and comes across as nothing more than a fairly routine Hollywood run-out.

I suppose the main positive that one can take away from Money Monster is that it’s another piece with its heart in the right place that at least aims to have a dig at, and raise awareness of the continued negligent practices of the banking sector, and the more of these that are thrown out there into the mainstream, the better.